Iron Dog Studio, a studio situated in the United Kingdom, tries their hand at a few new things. Although they have dabbled in the grid slot style in the past, the developers at this company generally choose either the traditional reel set-up or the more expansive Megaways model. Iron Dog’s old catalog, which tends to be earthbound, lacks a unifying motif involving space. The fact that Solar Nova aims for the classic Starburst feel while also bearing numerous similarities to Push Gaming’s smash hit Jammin’ Jars dampens our enthusiasm for Iron Dog’s pioneering attitude. You’ll get the idea, even if it’s not an exact match.
Solar Nova’s aesthetics and gameplay immediately reminded me of ReelPlay’s Hypernova series of ‘Nova’ slots. Space travel isn’t the only reason Solar Nova seems like a built-in Windows game on a tight budget. Fortunately, Solar Nova gets better the deeper you go if you can get over its Minesweeper aesthetic.
Bets may be adjusted from 10 pence to £/€50 each drop, spin, or whatever you choose to call the act of filling the 9×9 sized grid with 81 symbols, and the game can be played on any platform. Since the Solar wild sign is fixed but still vibrating like an atom, 80 symbols in total fall into place during each game round. The return to player percentage is 96% whether you play for free or for real money, with 56% going to the main game and the other 44% going to the bonus feature. In a game based on a very unstable mathematical model, a chain reaction may lead to amazing victories if you can keep it going.
In Solar Nova, winning combinations are formed by a cluster pays system in which at least six identical symbols appear in close proximity to one another, either vertically or horizontally. The standard pay symbols are seven different jewels, and the highest paying clusters include 25 or more matching symbols. Payouts range from ten times the bet to eighty times the stake at this level. Wild Rocket symbols emerge at random, in addition to the Solar wild in the center of the grid. Wilds of any type can stand in for any non-wild paying symbol and can contribute to many clusters at once.
Features of the Solar Nova Slots
The center symbol is both wild and the trigger for two additional features, Solar Flare and Solar Nova, which occur at random. Tumbling, rocket multipliers, and free spins accompany these.
When a winning cluster appears, the tumble function eliminates those symbols from the grid and makes room for others to fall into them. If more clusters emerge, the procedure is repeated until no further victories can be achieved.
The Solar wild symbol has the potential to randomly morph symbols in its row and/or column into the same matching symbol on any losing spin in the basic game. It’s possible that this feature will activate on winning spins during the free games.
The Rocket wild symbol does not disappear after being utilized in a winning combination because to the tumble feature. Instead, it will shift to a neighboring spot at random and wait for new symbols to be inserted using the tumble function. When utilized in a winning tumble, the multiplier for all wins including a Rocket symbol is increased by 1. The Symbol Teleportation mechanic can activate at any point throughout the game. When a teleportation occurs, the Rocket wild will swap places with a standard pay symbol, increasing the player’s chances of winning. If a combination including several Rocket wilds results in a win, the multipliers associated with each wild will be added together and applied.
If you get three Rocket wilds while playing the main game, you’ll receive six free games. All rockets stay on the grid for the whole feature, although they shift locations between free spins. The Rocket wild multiplier remains at x1, and as previously, up to four Rockets can appear in a single spin. In addition, a counter sits atop the Solar wild. When utilized in 8 consecutive winning tumbles, the Solar Nova feature is activated and its size increases to 3×3 for that particular tumble. It goes back to its original size after a good shake.
Incentives to Purchase
If the option to purchase free spins is presented, players can pick from three different options. Free spins with 3 Rockets (x1 multipliers) can be purchased for 90x the bet, free spins with 4 Rocket wilds (x1 multipliers) can be purchased for 250x the bet, and free spins with Rocket wilds (x5 multipliers) can be purchased for 300x the bet.
Judgment in the Solar Nova Case
Although many of Solar Nova’s features will be familiar to fans of grid-based slots, the game is nonetheless fun to play if you manage to hook yourself. If you can look past the game’s simplistic exterior, you’ll find some pretty out-of-this-world gameplay waiting for you once you hit the gas. In addition, Solar Nova has several extras that aren’t always available, or at least aren’t available together anywhere else, such the ever-sticky Solar Wild and its accompanying side features. Is Solar Nova not seeking to cash in on the success of others, based on these elements? Perhaps not, but they do assist, and the experience was enjoyable all around.
Solar Nova, as referred to, has a distinct Jammin’ Jars feel to it, especially during the free spins bonus round. Six when they activate, plus three or four times that much when wilds jump. Rocket wilds cause just as much havoc as regular wilds as they travel across the grid, foiling your efforts when they scoot apart but making everything look fine when they linger over the same zone connecting wins. Iron Dog’s center wild symbol is the cherry on top of a really tasty cake. Growing the Solar wild in just six nonretriggerable free spins is no easy feat. Wins are easier to come by with a sticky wild, and the suspense of the 3×3 Sula Nova tumble is increased accordingly. Testing yielded very positive results, and theoretically, payouts of up to 10,000 times the original wager are feasible.
Overall, a nice take on the grid slot genre; with so much borrowed material, though, is that cheating a little bit? Perhaps, but those who can get past that and get buried into a consistently performing slot machine will be rewarded. We can look beyond Solar Nova’s borrowed structure for the time being, but it would be great to see Iron Dog apply what they’ve learned to create something really unique the next time around.